On Friday, Amazon.com Inc said that it plans to open a second corporate office in Vancouver, increasing the company’s staff in the western Canadian city by early 2020 as it aims to tap into an improving local tech workforce.
The Seattle-based company said that the Vancouver expansion has been in the works for quite some time and is not related in any way to the hotly contested race by cities across North America to land the $5 billion HQ2 of the e-commerce company.
“These will be largely software engineering, tech and non-tech jobs, and they’ll be contributing to products that are used globally,” the general manager for the Vancouver office, Jesse Dougherty, informed reporters.
The expansion in Vancouver comes as companies in the United States have been having a hard time to secure visas easily in order to import foreign workers to fill in highly skilled and technical position.
The administration of Donald Trump has made it harder for skilled foreigners to work in the United States, challenging visa applications more frequents than at almost any point under the administration of former U.S. President Barack Obama.
Tech companies have come to depend on such visas to fill in many highly specialised position.
Officials of Amazon did not answer questions on whether the new office was in response to challenges of bringing foreign talent to its offices located in the United States.
“Amazon likes to hire the smartest people we can find, and so Vancouver certainly is a place where we like to get that growth,” Dougherty said.
In June, Canada started a fast-track visa program for highly skilled workers, as it aims to take advantage of a harder immigration environment in the United States.
The expansion will see Amazon double the company’s workforce in Vancouver to 2,000 by early 2020. Currently, the company has around 4,400 employees that are working full time in Canada. Amazon employs over 380,000 people globally, with about 150,000 working outside of the United States.